Congress Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-2h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.8 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
151 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Congress Trail is an amazing adventure in the Sequoia National Park that exhibits some of the world’s most famous sequoias—including The President and the General Sherman Tree. Indulge in the unrivaled scenery of the towering trees, lush meadows, and carpets of lupines and ferns as you travel through the grand forest.

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Route Description for Congress Trail

Explore the famous Giant Forest Grove and revel in the enormity of the old-growth conifers along the Congress Trail. Attracting hundreds of visitors a day, the crowds that congregate in the forest are a testament to its natural beauty, so explore in the early morning or evening to avoid the rush, or better yet—in the off-season.

When heading out in the off-season expect seasonal road closures. If the parking area off Wolverton Road is closed, then the accessible lot off Generals Highway becomes accessible to all, though you may still need chained tires or four-wheel drive to navigate the route. Note entrance to the park costs $35USD per vehicle or $20USD per person for pedestrians or cyclists.

Hike around the largest known sequoia and visit the world’s oldest sequoia along the Congress Trail. In addition to awe-inspiring views of the monstrous sequoias, this path boasts beautiful sights of the seasonal wildflowers and the opportunity to spot the area’s native fauna. Don’t forget to charge your camera so that you and your company can take the classic photo in front of the towering trees.

Much of this trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible, though some steep segments and areas with stairs are best avoided. The next time you find yourself in the Sequoia National Park, be sure to take a detour to the Giant Forest Grove. Hikers of all ages and skill levels will not be disappointed by this marvelous hike.

Embark on your expedition along the Congress Trail from the Sherman Tree Trailhead. Setting out from here, you will be guided southwestward along the Sherman Tree Trail. Soon after your departure, you will encounter an intersection, keep left here, escaping into the stand of giant sequoias. Wandering south, you will reach an overlook of the Sherman Tree looming above.

At the following junction, veer left, and you will be diverted onto the Congress Trail. This route leads adventurers over a footbridge atop Sherman Creek. Gradually climbing through the woodlands, you will likely notice trees along this path adorned with tree scars from a previous wildfire in the area. Hiking along this route you will ultimately reach The President Tree. Marvel in the grandeur of the globe’s oldest known sequoia tree, which is estimated to be about 3,200 years old.

From here, you will be guided to The Senate Group, a collection of looming sequoias that are gauged to be over 1,000 years of age. Beyond this point, the trail will redirect you west, passing a fallen sequoia to The House—another beautiful stand of the giant sequoias.

Maintaining along the Congress Trail, you will loop north, traveling past the General Lee Tree and McKinley Tree. Enjoy the scene of the lush undergrowth of ferns and wildflowers before meandering through the fallen tree tunnel towards the General Sherman Tree. Intersecting again with Sherman Creek, you will reach the famous tree.

Walk around the Sherman Tree Trail, the world’s largest sequoia tree and revel in the immense conifer that protrudes from the soft forest floor. Take the quintessential photo in front of the giant-sequoia, then follow the Sherman Tree Trail all the way back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Congress Trail?

The Congress Trail is a 4.8 km lollipop loop in Sequoia National Park.

How hard is the Congress Trail?

The Congress Trail is an easy-going, family-friendly adventure in the Sequoia National Park.

When is the Congress Trail open?

The Congress Trail is open year-round, though the parking area off Wolverton Road closes in the winter. At this time the accessible parking area on the Generals Highway becomes available to all.

Insider Hints for Congress Trail

  • Explore in the early morning, evening, or in the off-season for a more secluded experience
  • In the winter months, use cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore the forest
  • Charge your camera before heading out!
  • Pack a picnic and have lunch overlooking these monstrous trees

Getting to the Congress Trail Trailhead

The Congress Hike departs from the Sherman Tree Trailhead off Wolverton Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Congress Trail Elevation Graph

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